16 April 2002

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing"-Psalm 100:1,2 Music has a profound influence upon the soul. It affects our emotions, our feelings and has the power to change our mood in a heartbeat. Just by adding music to the score of a movie, producers can dictate how the audience should feel about a particular scene. A song can take us back in time to people and places long forgotten. Music can lift us up and it can bring us down. Yet, there are different kinds of music. There is noise and there is "joyful noise". There is music and there is worshipful music. There is music that affects the flesh, the natural emotions, and there is music that moves the spirit within the born again child of God. The latter would be classified as worshipful music. To God it would be called "a joyful noise". It is a sad reflection upon Christianity when worship music resembles worldly music; when it stirs the flesh and not the spirit; when it sounds like the music on the juke box only with the words changed; when it attracts the world and not the elect. There IS a difference. To this same schism, Charles Spurgeon addressed the music of his day: "God's house is meant to be sacred unto himself, but too often it is made an opera house, and Christians form an audience, not an adoring assembly. We come not together to amuse ourselves, to display our powers of melody, or our aptness in creating harmony. We come to pay our adoration a the foot stool of the great King, to whom alone be glory forever and forever"(17.663). He also said, "Singing should be congregational ... .when your heart is full of Christ, you will want to sing." To his sentiments we must agree. In New Testament terms, "a joyful sound" in God's ears is not produced by a musical instrument. It is not even produced by a beautiful voice or by the harmony of many voices. He who constantly enjoys an angelic chorus is not impressed with human ability. The only instrument than will ever produce a joyful noise in God's ears is the heart……a quickened heart that resonates with love and affection for its Redeemer. Every child of God possesses this instrument. It is said that the greatest sound to a violin makers ear is the music produced from an instrument of his own making. Surely, if the Lord quickened the heart it would give Him great pleasure to hear it echo His praise. The heart is the focus of New Testament worship! Addressing the heart, Paul wrote, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord"(Eph 5:19). Notice, the focus is the heart…not an instrument, not a voice. Though a person may not be able to carry a tune in a wash-tub, just reciting the words with a heart in communion with God is just as beautiful in God's hears as Placido Domingo or Luciano Pavarotti. None are spectators in this kind of worship! In I Corinthians 14:15, Paul gives the recipe for heart worship, "I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also". Spiritual understanding is heart melody. The natural man can not play this instrument(I Cor 2:14). It is possible for one to sing "Amazing grace" ever so beautifully, and never recognize that they are a wretch in need of God's grace! Spiritual songs are both experimental and doctrinal. They agree with the Bible and teach it in song. That is the modus operandi of "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." The heart gives assent to the truth offered up to God. Spiritual songs are sermons sang from breast to breast in the solemn assembly. The born again heart is the fulfillment of the Old Testament types and shadows. The many instruments in David's choir were only shadows of many quickened hearts in the New. If I could paint a picture of the assembly joined together in song, I would paint a picture of a troubadour, seated beneath the balcony of his love. His heart is afire with one desire: that his beauty would present herself for just a little while. Christ is the great love of the Church. We should sing that He would present Himself for just a little while in our services. "Come thou almighty King!" Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 each Sunday morning. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.